Everything happens at the right time, goes the popular saying. For Anil Kapoor, this is absolutely true.
A Bollywood superstar in his youth, an international actor in his later years, and now the latest entrant into the club of mega-celebrities who have their wax statue at Madame Tussauds (Singapore) — Anil probably never had it better in his 38 year-long career. And the actor knows it.
“If this had happened within the first 10 to 20 years of my career, I may not have valued it as much, as there’s always an arrogance of the youth. So, you’re like, ‘Arrey, theek hai yaar (Oh, it’s ok). I deserve it.’ But I haven’t got anything in life only due to my good fortune or good wishes. I have put in a lot of blood, sweat as well as hard work for everything. And that gives a different kind of thrill (smiles). Since all of it is happening at this stage of life, and not 20 to 25 years back, it’s brought in a lot of fun, positivity and value. It’s a good feeling,” says Kapoor, as he talks about the honour, films and more.
Were you surprised with the honour?
The whole process takes about eight to 10 months to be completed. And I must have started off (with measurements, posing for the statue, etc.) about a year back, so I knew about it. It’s time consuming. But I am happy that the way the statue has been completed is very real. My makeup man, Deepak, who has been with me for the last 30 to 35 years, took a lot of interest and worked on details right from matching my skin tone, to every single strand of my stubble.
Also, you must be thrilled about Sonam getting a special mention at the National Awards…
I think that was a much better and bigger moment for me than this wax statue of mine (smiles). I can’t tell you how happy I was when I heard about it.
Is it Anil Kapoor ‘the father’ talking?
Honestly, I am not talking as a father. I feel Sonam’s performance was too real and honest. Till today, it’s very special. When special things are rewarded and given their due by the highest authorities, you feel great. Even the film got a National Award. The way Prithviraj Kapoor comes into mind when one thinks of Emperor Akbar (the late Kapoor played Akbar in Mughal-E-Azam; 1960), Sonam’s face will flash in people’s minds even if they think of Neerja (2016) 50 or 100 years later.
You just shot with your nephew Arjun Kapoor for Mubarakan. How was it?
I am looking forward to it. And I am very happy with the way the film has turned out till now. The entire team, including Arjun and I, are very gung-ho and optimistic. I hope jitni khushi humko film bana ke ho rahi hai (the happiness we are experiencing by making the film), people will also be as excited to watch it.
How have your kids (Sonam, Rhea and Harshvardhan) reacted to your wax statue?
Actually, I had kept it under wraps to an extent. I didn’t discuss it much with anyone as I didn’t know when it will happen. And it’s good I didn’t discuss it much. Like me, it must have come as a pleasant surprise to them too. When I meet them now, I’ll come to know what they feel.
Does your wax statue bring back memories of Slumdog Millionaire (2008) days?
The entire team has done a great job of capturing my famous, iconic pose from Slumdog Millionaire (SM). I had to sit on the chair in that pose for eight hours. It’s not only for people who have seen me in Indian films, but also for those who appreciated me in SM too.
How have you kept yourself inspired in your career spanning over 35 years?
Everyone works hard. It all boils down to what choices you make in life — personally as well as professionally. From the kind of work you do and the films you choose to even things like whom you got married to, who are your friends, who you have worked with and who all have you have kept company with throughout your career — all of it makes a lot of difference, as it helps you gain wisdom.
But you have also made very interesting career choices…
I have been fortunate. A lot of film-makers, not just from my own country, but also from outside, have cast me in their films and other projects. They considered me worthy enough to be a part of their work. Sometimes, I am like, ‘Why have they cast me? There are better actors and bigger stars than me’.